Monthly Archives: May 2021

Synthetic Ice Comparison

synthetic ice sheets

Looking for ways to intelligently compare synthetic ice products? Admittedly it can be difficult. Here are some things to consider to help you figure out what synthetic ice product is best for you!

Finding the Right Synthetic Ice Product for You

When something is difficult to compare, consumers default to price. The problem is that price almost never tells the full story about a product. To make a more informed synthetic ice comparison, we need to step back and ask ourselves some questions.

Here are some basic things to consider:

  1. What are you hoping to be able to do (hockey drills, figure skating training)?
  2. What are your performance expectations?
  3. How much space do you have?
  4. Do you place importance on quality, value, or price?

Synthetic Ice for Shooting Pucks

If all you hope to do is simply take shots with skates on and do some basic movements, such as stepping into a shot, then chances are then you could do with more of a cheap synthetic ice product – likely an extruded material. If you follow the link above, you should be able to source something for under $9.00 psf.

Synthetic Ice for High Performance Skating

If your expectations are higher in terms of quality and durability then you will likely want to consider a sinter pressed / compression molded product. These materials are much more durable simply because the raw materials in this process can be a much higher molecular weight. In our lab testing we have demonstrated that the force required to move a weighted skate blade is as much as 40% less than with an extruded material. That directly translates into our products offering a superior glide that feels like the real deal. Read a more detailed description about our synthetic ice price.

Synthetic Ice Panels for Basement & Outdoor Rinks

When it comes to the size of the surface, we generally tell people the larger the surface the more thought you should give to buying a premium material. With smaller surfaces (100-200 sf) you will never truly appreciate the better glide or speed because you will never get up to full stride. For a small space we might recommend a mid range sinter pressed material or even our value priced extruded option.

But, if you’re looking at building a synthetic ice rink with plenty of space to skate on, you should consider our premium synthetic ice products. You can try a free at home trial of our products by clicking on the link here, filling out your contact information, and ticking the box that says ‘Tell Me More’. Depending on where you live there may be some shipping charges to get the free trial product to your home. But once the product is there it’s yours to use at home. If you decide that you like it enough to buy it then you just let us know!

Still Not Sure What Synthetic Ice Product is Best For You?

Reach out to us here and we will discuss your synthetic ice application and recommend the right product to reach your hockey training goals within your budget.



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Skating on Synthetic Ice

A young hockey player learning how to skate on synthetic ice at home.

How to Skate on Synthetic Ice

Skating on synthetic ice has it’s advantages. Sure there are folks out there who love it and there are those who don’t – like anything. What I will write about here is my own experiences with my kids – both who I (and more importantly all their coaches) always considered excellent skaters.

First I will say this: if a hockey player or figure skater can do something on real ice then they can do it on a high quality synthetic hockey ice surface. And don’t just take my opinion for it, here’s a quote from a customer of ours (who’s a brilliant figure skater) regarding our products:

I am pleased with how well my blades maintain edges on my infused panels. I believe they are a tad softer than others I sampled (my blades cut in more). But they skate the best. That is paramount.”
– R. Strong, Synthetic Ice Figure Skater in Florida

You can read the full review here. For a figure skater, having a reliable surface is even more important because of the high risk maneuvers they perform.

Synthetic Ice “Negatives”

There are some industry “negatives” I often hear from people who either haven’t skated on the best synthetic ice surfaces, or simply aren’t familiar with current synthetic ice technology:

  • “you can’t skate backwards on synthetic ice”
  • “goalies can’t do lateral slides”
  • “there is too much resistance to skate properly”
  • “skating on synthetic ice negatively impacts your stride”

There is no doubt that skating on synthetic ice can be radically different than real ice – if the product is either of low quality or not well maintained. There are some products that are so bad that it is difficult to even skate backwards – heck with some products it’s hard enough to skate forwards!

What motivated me to get into this business was my own experience with low quality products. It amazed me that a business owner selling the synthetic ice would install a poor quality product but, that was my first experience with it. It was OK for shooting pucks but that was about it.

Since then, I’ve had my own SmartRink Synthetic Ice products installed at home, and here are some of things my own kids have worked on:

  • stride mechanics (relationship of hip, knee, ankle, toe)
  • posture (head up, back position, butt)
  • stride starting position to recovery
  • explosiveness (those first three quick strides)
  • edge control (leaving your comfort zone on both edges)
  • quick direction change
  • agility, footwork, quick feet

home synthetic ice rink for hockey in Canada

And really this is just the tip of the iceberg. But, these are some basic fundamentals that all aspiring young hockey players need to pursue to get better. If a hockey player doesn’t learn these things they will struggle. Period.

Skating Development with Synthetic Ice

We’ve all seen that kid with the quirky stride. We used to call that “skating on railroad tracks” where they have that real choppy short stride. With proper instruction and consistent practice, skating on synthetic ice can absolutely fix that. A player might be filling the back of the net, but if they skate poorly they won’t get very far in hockey.

Free at Home Trial for Synthetic Ice

A high quality synthetic ice product is a great investment for your any aspiring figure skater or hockey player. Don’t listen to people who say you can’t do certain things on synthetic ice. They had a bad experience or knew someone else who did. At SmartRink we believe in our product and are confident once you test out our synthetic ice tiles, you’ll be a believer.

You can try a free at home trial of our products by clicking on the link here, filling out your contact information, and ticking the box that says ‘Tell Me More’. Depending on where you live there may be some shipping charges to get the free trial product to your home. But once the product is there it’s yours to use at home. If you decide that you like it enough to buy it then you just let us know!

Do all the dryland training you want – there is no substitute for being on your skates to get better. For more ideas and tips on how to train and skate on synthetic ice, check out these passing hockey drills and shooting hockey drills that are fantastic for those with a home synthetic ice rink.





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Affordable Synthetic Ice Panels at Home

Why should you consider synthetic ice panels?

An ice rink ice is a great way to hone your ice hockey skills, practice ice skating, or spend time enjoying the rink with friends and family. But did you know that not all ice skating rinks are made of mechanically refrigerated or natural ice? A synthetic ice skating rink is made from engineered plastic interlocking panels, not real ice!

Want to see for yourself? You can view our synthetic ice catalogue here.

Ice Skating Rink Cheap Alternative: Synthetic Ice Panels

If you’re looking for an ice hockey ice rink alternative for your organization or even your own home, a plastic ice skating rink may be the perfect solution. There’s less mess and minimal maintenance when you choose synthetic ice. Plastic panels can be combined to create a custom synthetic ice rink of any size, and you can even choose between an outdoor rink, or an indoor rink.

Fake ice is suitable for all ice skating sports and activities. If it calls for ice, synthetic ice is the logical answer. Installing and maintaining a real ice hockey rink can be astronomically expensive and cumbersome. Hockey rink ice must be regularly smoothed and maintained to provide a smooth skating surface. But with a synthetic ice rink, hockey players can skate all day without reconditioning the ice surface. Water is all that is needed to clean your synthetic ice rink.

Backyard Ice Skating Rinks made from Synthetic Ice Panels

Every hockey player dreams of  having a hockey ice rink in their home, or even a small patch of goalie ice for added practice sessions away from the rink. Backyard synthetic rinks of any size are now affordable and practical with synthetic ice panels. Your backyard rink can be custom ordered to suit your available space constructs, and we can deliver artificial ice panels to make year-round skating at home a reality.

An outdoor ice rink is just what you need to practice your ice hockey at home when you can’t get to the commercial ice rink. Outdoor ice hockey rinks provide all the space you need to give you the competitive edge at your next hockey game.

If you’re serious about hockey, rinks (ice and plastic, both) are where you spend your free time. Wouldn’t it be great to have an ice rink for backyard parties, weekends, and late-night practices? Even a small rink can provide countless opportunities for hockey practice sessions. Outdoor ice rinks are very popular, but an outside ice rink isn’t always convenient. When you need an indoor practice session, a basement synthetic ice rink provides the space and privacy you need to practice at any hour, day or night.

If you have an ice skating rink idea, or need to find out what your options are for creating a custom ice hockey rink, give us a call today. SmartRink offers the absolute best prices on synthetic ice panels. In fact, if you find a better price on a similar-quality synthetic ice product, we’ll match it. You’ll get SmartRink’s superior customer service and installation at the lowest prices available- guaranteed.

Contact us to find out more about synthetic ice panels or to get a free quote on your custom synthetic ice project.


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Backyard Rink Boards

A synthetic backyard rink in Ontario, Canada with hockey boards

Hockey boards for synthetic ice rinks

We get asked a lot about boards for home synthetic ice hockey rinks and commercial synthetic ice rinks. The commercial rinks frankly are easier because there are some great companies out there making high quality perimeter arena board systems. They range from molded plastic to high end NHL style pro systems with various upper containment options. But when it comes to a safe, durable, good looking system for inside or outside home applications – frankly the industry has come up short – until now.

Installing durable hockey boards on a backyard rink

Recently we installed a 48 ft x 30 ft synthetic ice backyard rink on a raised wooden platform. The area was very uneven and it was more cost effective for the owner to build a platform than to put in retaining walls and pour concrete. So we had very little margin for error in this job and we wanted to be able to maximize the usable space. So we challenged a fabricator to come up with a super strong but lighter duty board system that would stand up to 20 years of backyard hockey abuse.

What they came up with was the ProLite hockey board system. The frame on this system is incredibly only 1.5 inches thick but its welded aluminum and is very strong. Its cladded with a 1/2 inch TPO material which is especially great for outside installations as it has minimal expansion and contraction due to weather variances.

For lateral stability ProLite recommended using a dipped galvanized steel stabilizer that connected to each eight foot section and was easily bolted together with stainless steel hardware.

There was a total of four gates in this rink. The owner’s plan was to use two for player bench doors and then one at the end for snow blower access and then a general access door opposite the players benches. Each door was 36″ wide and was attached using heavy stainless hardware mounted to the aluminum frames.

Finally we placed netting around the rink so that the neighbours would be safe from flying pucks!

All in all this is an impressive “light-duty” system that will last decades in reality and should easily withstand any family or community rink application – indoors or out.

Thinking about a synthetic ice rink for your home? Contact us here.



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